Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Running A Hospital...and Blogging About It

As you may know, last year I transitioned from being a poorly-paid, middle-of-the-pack Tri-Geezer to my current gig is as a senior strategy and business development executive in a large, academic health center. I’m now better paid but decidedly slower and still conflicted about the tradeoff.

It’s a gig that I thought long and hard about taking. Why? It meant returning to an industry that’s totally screwed up, too costly, frequently unsafe and breathtakingly resistant to change. Worse, it delivers generally mediocre results (compared to health outcomes in other developed economies) and denies access to an astonishing number of very needy – and very sick - people.

But I’m here (and happily, professionally engaged for the first time in a long while) because my CPE (Current Place of Employment) is hellbent on making a positive difference amongst the general mediocrity – unlike certain organizations in my past that couldn’t pronounce ‘strategy’ if you spotted them the ‘strat,’ the ‘uh’ and the ‘gee.’ We may not be able to rescue the entire industry but we can damn sure make health care better, safer and more accessible in our corner of the Great Plains.

That’s a rather long preamble to introducing healthcare blogger
Paul Levy, CEO of a large Boston-area medical center. For Levy, transparency is a necessary antidote to healthcare’s long silence about uncomfortable topics, and he’s not the least bit shy about the possibility that it’ll lead to an increased competitive advantage for his organization. Check out this recent post inviting your feedback on the fairness of his million-dollar salary, and this post airing publicly certain of his hospital’s infection rates.

Not surprisingly, his openness has raised hackles in the rarified air of Beantown’s hospital boardrooms. One competitor sniffed that they’d release their infection data only when Massachusetts’s Department of Public Health develops reporting standards…or hell freezes over, whichever is later.

Says the
Boston Globe,

"Partners HealthCare (the parent organization of Mass. General and Brigham and Women's), executives declined to comment. "What's a blog?" said chief operating officer Thomas Glynn when asked about Levy's blog.

Spokeswoman Petra Langer said that overall, people at Partners are not a blogging group. "They're too busy," she wrote in an e-mail.

Still, Glynn said, printouts of certain entries occasionally get passed around the executive offices."

Ummm. What? Partners’ execs can’t go online and read a blog for themselves? Or act like adults and respond to Levy’s challenge to post comments or rebuttal opinions? Hard to do from a Xerox copy, I guess.

What did I say a few paragraphs ago about health care being resistant to change?

Workout tonight: 120 minutes of yoga followed by reruns of “Frasier.”

1 comment:

Paul Levy said...

Thanks, V-man, for the comments. Stay tuned. We're just beginning.

BTW, I enjoy running, too, but only when I am chasing a soccer ball. And, on biking, I stick to a hybrid because I don't have the self-control not to go too fast on a road bike. As for swimming, Walden Pond at dusk on a warm summer day is unbeatable!